Donna Perry Murder: Where is Jonathan Paul Folks Now?

Image Credit: Ralph/Find a Grave

In the episode titled ‘I Saw the Devil’ of A&E’s ‘Murder at the Motel,’ the viewers are provided with a detailed account of the 2014 murder case of 48-year-old Donna Perry. The sinister yet mysterious nature of the crime was investigated by the authorities, who left no stone unturned before they cuffed the perpetrator. The emotional aftermath and turmoil faced by the victim’s family and friends were also showcased, thanks to the exclusive interviews with Donna Perry’s loved ones.

Donna Perry Was Found Killed in a Hotel Room

Brought into the world by Fred Donald Brady and Linder McGee on July 10, 1966, Donna Alaine Brady Perry was also taken care of by her stepfather, Frankie McGee. Besides her parents, she also shared a seemingly loving household with a couple of sisters, Jenny Lynn Brady Hanley and Kathy Brady Moore, and three brothers, James Jones, Casey Jones, and Arron McGee. As far as her academic front is concerned, she went to Pearl River Community College and graduated with flying colors. Donna went on to become a decorated soldier in the US Army, where she served for 27 years, 23 of which she was on active duty. Meanwhile, she tied the knot with John Charles “Chuck” Perry, and over the following years, the couple gave birth to three lovely children — Lilly Perry, Corley Elliott, and Christian Elliott.

In November 2014, the retired US Army soldier traveled to Oregon from Mississippi for some temporary work in a mill. A few days later, on November 23, the housekeeper at the Village Inn came across the gruesome sight of 48-year-old Donna’s body after taking a glance through the partially open door of her room. As the police were informed of the same, the place was swarmed by officers who inspected the body and the crime scene thoroughly in the hopes of finding clues that could lead them to the perpetrator/s. One of the family members of Donna took to social media when the news of her passing broke out. They wrote, “My heart is crushed, I love you so much words can’t describe how I feel right now. Thank you for all you have done not just for me but the whole family.”

Donna Perry Knew the Killer For Over a Decade

After the authorities were done collecting the evidence from the crime scene, they began the interrogation process, wherein they interviewed potential witnesses and loved ones of Donna Perry. The detectives soon came to know about a person of interest, Jonathan Paul Folks, a 25-year-old guy she had met almost a decade ago. Although the two did not get involved romantically then, they allegedly started seeing each other in the summer of 2014, despite there being a 21-year age difference. The authorities also learned that Donna was accompanied by Jonathan when she traveled to Oregon to assist in cleaning up the Swanson Mill that had burned down a few months earlier, in July.

Per reports, the two had spent almost a month together in the hotel room, but right before Donna was supposed to check out of the hotel, things turned eerie. Jonathan ended up killing Donna and leaving her body in the room. But as per the suspect’s claims, she had returned to the hotel room around 4 am on November 23, after spending a few hours outside with her friends. It was reported that they indulged in methamphetamine and sex. But during the activity, he claimed that he noticed her face turn “demonic.” He said that he called up his stepfather and prayed with him, but soon after he hung up, he said he felt that his partner was possessed.

According to him, a voice in his head told him to get rid of her for good, after which he started hitting and choking her as she tried to fight back. When she tried to escape out the door, he stopped her in her tracks as he thought that on the other side of the door, more demons were waiting to come inside. As per his claims, he then grabbed Donna from behind and strangled her to death. In a state of panic, he immediately left the room and drove back to Hattiesburg, Mississippi and confessed what he had just done. When he became a prime suspect in the case, the police began searching for his whereabouts and headed to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, arrested him on November 29, 2014, and charged him with the murder of Donna Perry. He was then extradited to Oregon for his trial.

Jonathan Paul Folks is Currently Incarcerated at an Oregon Prison

Several months after the murder of Donna Perry, Jonathan Paul Folks stood on trial for the same on September 15, 2015. During the trial, various witnesses took the stand, from the prosecutor’s side as well as from the defense’s side. The latter argued that Jonathan was battling a mental disorder while he continued to testify that he believed a demon had possessed Donna, which is why he had to act in self-defense before that evil spirit killed him. On the other hand, the prosecution questioned the nearby neighbors and presented the evidence they found at the scene of the crime.

In the court, when the defense attorney asked Jonathan if he thought that he was killing Donna Perry, he responded, “No, I thought I was killing a demon.” Moreover, a psychiatrist claimed that the defendant was dealing with drug-induced psychosis when he committed the crime. However, reflecting on all the evidence against him, the jury returned with a guilty verdict and convicted Jonathan as charged. A month after the trial began, in October 2015, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In February 2018, he appealed against his conviction. As of now, he is serving his sentence behind bars at Oregon State Penitentiary at 2605 State Street in Salem, Oregon.

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